A cooperative union in Murang’a has proposed some measures aimed to boost consumption of coffee in the county.
The Murang’a Farmers Cooperative Union has come up with a plan to set up coffee shops in major trading centre within the county so as to attract people to consume the beverage.
The cooperative proposes to use Sh. 10 million in establishing the shops including putting up coffee cafes at compounds of all local coffee factories.
The Union’s General Manager, John Kirigwi said once established, the shops will help boost coffee consumption and thus increase farmers returns.
He noted that 10 percent of all coffee produced in the county will be consumed locally as people will access best quality of coffee at the shops.
“Our plan is to increase coffee consumption locally and we will do so by establishing coffee shops where locals can assess quality coffee at reasonable price,” added Kirigwi.
The new measures are proposed in a report by a taskforce that was established by the county government to evaluate and come up with plans to revamp hailing coffee sector.
The taskforce that was established mid last year is preparing to hand over its report to the county government for review and implementation.
Kirigwi said the Union will go ahead to implement new plans, saying first coffee shop will be opened in Murang’a town by end of this month.
“This is strategy is designed to educate and encourage people into coffee drinking culture in Murang’a and beyond. The first coffee shop will be opened in Murang’a town end of this month,” noted the manager.
Ten coffee shops will be established in major trading centres within the county as another 100 distribution outlets be put up at coffee factories.
The measures are termed as ways of doing value addition of coffee produced in the county.
Coffee production in the county has declined over time following poor returns from the cash crop which has pushed many farmers to abandon coffee farming.
In 1980’s the county used to produce more than 100 metric tonnes of coffee unlike today’s 40 tonnes. The number of active coffee farmers has as well gone down to about 55,600 from 103,045 in the 1990s.
In the past six years, Murang’a county government has been employing various measures to boost coffee production among them provision of subsidized organic manure to coffee farmers.
The Murang’a County Executive Member in charge of Cooperatives, Paul Macharia said the county government is committed to revamp coffee sector.
The county government, he said has supported the sector with subsided manure which has in turn increased production in the past three years. The production has gone up from three kilos per coffee bush to about 10 kilos per harvest season,”he noted.
By Bernard Munyao